The triumph of hope over reality, the Railway Inn was opened to welcome the potential routing of the no West Coast line via Eccleshall on its way to Holyhead. It really was a toss up between Crewe and Eccleshall … and Crewe won. So the once pivotal centre of the county, Eccleshall, missed out firstly on the canal system, only to be subbed as a potential rail hub. Apparently it was a democratic decison by the then good folk of the town – Lord knows what they were thinking of!
Today Eccleshall remains a glorious place to live (if you can abide the thunderous HGV’s making the town centre feel as if it’s part of a M25 junction) … but that said, had the canals and railways come to Eccleshall, there would have been a by-pass … which may well have taken trade out of the town. No-one will ever know which would have best suited the town; As it is, with today’s ease of access, Ecclians are probably proud to have missed the transport revolutions of the 1770’s and the 1920’s – let’s face it, does Crewe offer the casual visitor what Eccleshall has to offer. The decision to site the hub didm indeed fall Crewe’s way … so perhaps Eccleshall may have lost in the short term, only to see the benefits in the 20th and 21st centuries – perhaps we will never know.